Education is not only a wealth for a country, but also a stairway to create knowledgeable and skilled citizen. Education is a key in the government's strategy of bringing rapid and sustainable economic growth through strong human resource capacity, and becoming lower-middle income country by 2025.
In addition to the plan of making education accessible all across the country, various works are underway to ensure quality education. On a recent 9 month performance report presented to the House of Peoples Representative, Dr Tilaye Gete, (PHD) Education Minister, disclosed the five major focus areas of the ministry, which include preparing a 15 year action-plan, Deliverology, civic and ethical education improvement, and the 'Learning Generation' project, among others.
Regarding the 15 year action-plan, the State Minister revealed that the preparation work is well underway by evaluating and reviewing education and training policies of the last 25 years, and by involving more than 36 higher education institution professionals and researchers.
So far, document assessment, site works, articulation of international experiences, research works have already been completed. The plan is to formulate the action-plan as per the directives given by the government, and by holding talks with the relevant stakeholders through various mechanisms. The plan also involves walking the action-plan through all the necessary process.
As to 'Deliverology' - which is an approach aimed at managing reform initiatives and delivering successful results - it has come into effect in the three prominent and most influential goals of the education sector. It targets to manage and monitor the implementation of activities that have significant impact on students learning outcomes.
Deliverology is employed to deliver effective result in the three identified objectives, which are: ensuring more than 50 percent passing score for students, securing employment for 90 percent of TVET graduates one year after graduation, and securing employment for 80 percent university graduates.
In order to accomplish the aforementioned goals, all the necessary structures have been installed starting from the ministry to regional offices and organizations. And as per the plan, works are already initiated in every sector by involving international consultants on all the three sectors. Follow up, monitoring and evaluations are underway. Also, implementation plan has been laid out by preparing discussion document for the teachers.
There were also works done by the ministry in relation to upgrading history textbooks, and civics education. While the preparation work for grade 9 and 11 history textbooks is nearly completed, works are accelerating in collaboration with Addis Ababa university to complete grade 10 and 12 by the end of the year.
As for civic and ethical education, the ministry has tried to collect inputs from 197 federal offices and public institutions by preparing coordination plan in three sectors to improve the governing principles and value.
By giving civic and ethical education training for 1814 teachers, the number of civics teachers that have gotten the training so far has reached 31,586, while 10,600 teachers are being trained currently. Training manual Preparation has also been given for 749 higher institution civic and ethical education teachers.
The Learning Generation' Project
In 2015, the international community committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Out of that came 'the learning generation' project which was launched by United Nations Education Commission to be implemented by countries and ensure inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. Its main aim of the project, among others, is to enable low- and middle-income countries to boost education quality and enrollment rates within a generation.
While 14 countries from Africa have been chosen to be included in this program, preparations are already underway to make Ethiopia one of the early implementers of the program.
In general, moving forward, facilitating education quality, improving the recruitment and training mechanism of teachers and administrators, and finalizing the works that have been started to improve the curriculum will be given attention.
Intertwining the tasks identified to ensure the success of the curriculum/education system with delivery unit to bring results needs continuous attention.
In this regard, it was noted that works need to be done in harmony with the pertinent stakeholders to reduce the rate of dropout, increase teacher attendance rate, and address gaps seen in special needs and elder education.
Also, moving forward, TVET sector will be given attention. More specifically, special attention will be given to bolster the technology transfer capability of the sector, and to strengthen university industry linkage. And for this, the relevant stakeholders should dig in to maintain the performance based system.
Capacity building works aimed at augmenting the (school) administrators' management skill so that they ably carry out the teaching learning process, research and development and social work must continue. It was also noted that completing the next 15 years action-plan of the education sector, and starting its implementation beginning from early next year should also be given due attention.
BY FASICA BERHANE
Film Industry: Crucial means to promote nation’s culture
It is crystal clear that the film industry has significant advantage in promoting culture, in addition to contributing to the overall economy in terms of creating job opportunities for many talented youths involved in art, and outside of it. It was unfortunate that Ethiopia only recently launched a film policy to support the sector. The policy tries to respond to the issues facing the sector, and to initiate change that would help compliment the pursuit of the country's cultural objectives.
The past two decades have witnessed major changes in various film industries worldwide in response to both economic and cultural developments around the globe. Globalization has led to what is described as the “international division of cultural labor”, which is raising cultural issues.
As an infant sector, Ethiopia's film industry is not yet impacting the global industry, but rather it is impacted by the giant global film industries like Hollywood and Bollywood.
To this end, we can safely say that the policy intervention made by the government on behalf of a privately-owned, commercial film industry falls within the broader sense of cultural policy. This is due to the fact that film will have both positive and negative impacts to the socio-economic, political and more importantly cultural domains of any regional, national or supra-national geographic space.
Many studies reveal the significance of film policy initiatives along with economic and cultural issues with which they have been concerned. While they all indicate the manner in which countries have been obliged to respond to the economic and technological changes brought by globalization, they also demonstrate the variation in responses to these shared challenges.
In doing so, the studies also highlight the ways in which film policy occupies a significant place at the intersection of economic, cultural and political debate, and on the socio-economic and cultural consequences of ‘creative industries’ discourse.
Kindeneh Tamene, a researcher who conducted a study on Ethiopian film history under the title “A Brief Overview of Ethiopian Film Industry”, explained that Ethiopia was the only African nation with its own scripture, alphabets and history of ancient literature, which makes it an ancient civilized nation.
He said that Film was introduced to the country around 1898, three years after the first film was projected in Paris in December 28, 1895.
Stating the challenges of the sector, Kindeneh stressed on the importance of huge investment to the growth of the industry, as capital is the biggest challenge to the sector. He further said: “Socio-political instability of the country for long is one reason that stalled the film industry and forced it to still remain in its infant stage.”
Mentioning the fact that the sector is showing some progress over the past 10 years plus, the researcher further highlighted that much remains to be done in terms of tapping into the potential of the sector by promoting the country's culture worldwide. “This can help generate huge income, and create more jobs, both inside and outside the sector.”
Many are heard saying that the youth is influenced by cultures that are not their own. Seeing the contents of the TV shows in many of the emerging media channels in the country, and also considering the fact that the most viewed cinema by the youth and adults are foreign films is an indicator of the failure to promote the diverse cultures of the nation using cinema. Youths are influenced by both negative and positive media and cinema outcomes of the developed world, which is a loss if not properly managed.
Based on his findings, Kindeneh disclosed that the sector requires qualified professionals and shall be supported with researches. He also said: “Both the government and the private sector should work for the sector's development.”
Ethiopian Film Actor Desalegn Hailu recently said that the film policy that the government has adopted of late after many deliberations was a good step forward. “This was the biggest moment that I wanted to see in my life which happened after many discussions and effort.”
The actor further said that the policy, if it is practically supported with all the pertinent bodies, would create in the future many youth filmmakers and professionals that can standout on their own and curve a place for them in the global film industry.
For this, the government should give much focus to promoting and safeguarding the country's culture not only by developing policy, which certainly is a step forward, but it should also support the sector by giving incentives and creating conducive investment opportunities to attract foreign direct investments to the sector. And this is crucial for experience sharing, and most importantly, for the growth of the sector.
BY YARED GEBREMEDEN
It is no secret that effective public sector plays huge role in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). How the public sector of a country is setup plays a huge role in its effectiveness and efficiency, and ultimately, its capability of getting things done.
While there are other factors and variables at play in terms of a given country attracting foreign investment, chief among them is the effectiveness of the public sector or the effectiveness of the civil service. FDI is critical for the development aspirations of any developing country; therefore, creating an effective civil service sector is indispensable from any nation’s growth aspirations.
Some argue that in order for the public sector to be effective, and thereby attract FDI, it should be run as a business especially when it comes to the management of its employees and the monitoring and evaluation of its performance.
With this in mind, the government of Ethiopia has been working on transforming its public sector. According to Tom Pätz and Günther Taube, who have done extensive research on the matter, the reform of the public service in Ethiopia has made good progress over the last 15 years. As to them, the weaknesses from the previous political systems have so far been overcome or at least reduced.
In relation to this the research outcomes indicated that the capacity to implement government programs is improving. And service orientation, transparency and accountability of the civil service have also been improved.
Adebabay Abay is an instructor and consultant on transformational leadership and management. He told The Ethiopian Herald that the target of the public sector reform is to create new institutions, and transform the already existing ones to the level demanded, and its fingerprints can be seen in the various institutions, including those involved in the investment sector of the country. “The reform in this regard has played a catalytic role.”
As a result, he continued, one of such a public sector is the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC). The commission is the country’s spearh eading institution when it comes to investment. And it has recently become an internationally lauded and recognized institution, where it has been recognized for its merits by winning prizes.
As it can be recalled, the Commission won the '2017 United Nations Award' for outstanding performance in targeted promotion, facilitation and execution of sustainable investment projects’.
Making his point further, Adebabay mentioned how the public sector reform has brought positive outcomes to all those institutions that are involved in investment.
He claimed that the reform similarly done in other institutions such as in justice organs, banking sectors, education, and the private sector has helped and aided the mentioned sectors improve their performance, and in some cases, help expand the sectors. In short, the reform has played a catalytic role in attracting investment, he argued.
On the other hand, the flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency seen in the country’s institutions that are directly involved in investment comes from the reform process, Adebabay further notes that “If we see experiences from 20 or 15 years ago, we didn’t even have such kind of huge numbers of institutions that have focused on attracting and facilitating investment.”
In terms of utilizing the country’s investment potential, the reform would help in terms of policy directive. Implementing the civil service sector reform means increasing development and regulating institutional capacity.
Despite the importance of the reform, Adebabay points out that it needs to go through all the changing dynamics and varying external environment. And this is a daunting task, as it is very challenging for even developed countries, let alone developing ones like Ethiopia.
He also claim that the country needs to cope up with the growing demand for capacity to attract investment, and this requires capacity building tasks to hasten the momentum of the reform process and further strengthen its implementation.
“Besides, Ethiopia’s civil service reform is comprehensive compared to other African countries, as they mostly undertake a single reform with specific target in mind whilst ours is broad, even by the developed countries standard. The aim of the reform is to transform the country, and if we undertake the reform bit by bit, then we wouldn’t be able to get out of poverty. It needs to be comprehensive and fundamental.”
With this mind, maintaining the good results and further propping up the catalytic role the sector reform played so far would send a strong signal to investors and businesses whilst helping the country build up on the already achieved successful results.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
“Priority should be given to ensuring financial and insurance service accessibility”
Dr. Sintayehu Weldemichael, Public Finance Agency Director General
Public Finance Agency Director General Dr. Sintayehu Weldemichael held an exclusive interview with Addis Zemen Daily Amharic Newspaper on the overall activities of the Agency and other related issues.
The Director General has served in Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Amhara Finance and Economy Bureau, Gondar University and National Bank of Ethiopia at various levels before his current position.
He obtained his first and second degrees from Asmara and Addis Ababa Universities respectively in Economics. He also received philosophy of doctorate degree from Austrian-based University of Queens in a similar field. Here is the summary of the interview.
How far has the Agency come in terms of attaining its mission?
Public financial organizations such as Ethiopian Commercial Bank, Ethiopia Development Bank and Ethiopian Insurance Company needed an institution that could work for them as a share company. Therefore, Government Financial Organization was organized so that it could assess and inspect their effectiveness as per the goals they set.
As a result, the agency is given mandate to follow up and pass decisions on these financial institutions' fiscal plan, audit report and other related issues. It also assigns directors, board members and chairpersons. It assesses and approves their yearly plan and budget. It also assigns auditors. Moreover, it also passes decisions after the auditor’s report particularly when there is a problem and weak performance. Generally, it works to ensure the benefit of the government on these institutions. The reason to this is that financial organizations have crucial role to fasten the development of a nation by creating strong institutions. And this demands strong firms and modern system.
How do you describe the performance of financial institutions under your supervision?
The Agency plays a significant role through supporting the financial activities of the institutions under its mandate. However, the financial sector has not been yet developed as expected. The institutions are introducing new technologies and modern systems to facilitate their service. Moreover, they are working to make financial services easily accessible to the society.
One of such institutions is the Ethiopian Commercial Bank. The bank has been giving services for over 75 years. It has done various expansion activities over the past ten years. Currently, it has over 1200 branch offices.
Settling market prices and introducing new technologies have so far been the major activities that have been done by it.
The bank including the Ethiopian Development Bank has been supporting government’s huge projects by providing loans. They also provide loan for investors engaged in investment, industry and agriculture development sub-sectors.
The Ethiopian Insurance Company on its part contributes a lot in settling prices in the sector. On the other hand, it also plays a significant role in encouraging new insurance institutions. However, much work is still expected form it to advance the insurance sector, as most of its services are accessible only for people with high living standard.
On this note, how do you describe the Agency’s engagement in making insurance accessible for low-income earners?
Various things are being done to make the service accessible for a society that earns low income both in urban or rural areas. With this in mind, structure is being setup to make insurance service available for farmers.
What is your comment on the complaints that have been thrown at the Development Bank’s loan allocations?
For the past 10 years, loan services were provided for investors who are engaged in agriculture, in order to strengthen the sector to highly support Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, there were few problems that surfaced on the loan providing methods. To curb the problem, new system will be formulated, and legal action will be taken on those who are at fault. The punishment is expected to be compatible and appropriate for the extent of the problem. The Ethiopian Development Bank is also conducting research to answer the questions regarding loan returns.
Do you think that the financial institutions are profitable?
Their profit is increasing every year. However, the question should be whether the financial institutions are accelerating the economy, and hastening the accessibility and modernization of bank services. These criteria would not be achieved without having finance. Yet, the banks are profitable in this regard.
How do you describe the Agency’s role to the success of these institutions?
The Agency is behind the success of the financial institutions. It is also responsible if there is a failure. Accordingly, I can say that the success is ours.
How do you describe the capacity of the Ethiopian financial institutions?
Their level of capacity is highly linked with capital. Though there is a problem with accommodation of foreign currency, their capital is increasing. Issues of human resource management and technology make their competition difficult with to compete with international institutions.
What is the level government intervention on these institutions?
The nation follows developmental government system. As a result, the government interferes on key issues concerning the nation. There are two major reasons when government intervenes on certain issues. Either there is market gap, or the issue is very critical.
However, the government will stop interfering on the economy once it ensures that the private sector is able to cover the gap. But, whether the government stops interfering or continues is a policy issue; so the issue is always open for discussion by the government.
What are the major challenges that financial institutions often face?
Lack of skilled human power is the first problem of financial institutions. Absence of strong system, technology and poor awareness of societies on the financial sectors are also among the other problems facing the sector.
What are your priorities for the future?
The priority is ensuring the accessibility of financial institutions. The major target is making the Ethiopian Commercial Bank, Development Bank and Insurance Company accessible for all society. These three institutions should provide services in fair price and efficiency for all in shortest time intervals possible. This would help to modernize the saving, loan and payment systems, which would accelerate the development.
BY BETELHEM BEDLU
Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Ethiopia can do well to further boost and push the involvement of the private sector.
The private sector is crucial for development; it’s no secret, nor a complicated formula to understand. The private sector plays an essential role in increasing productivity and competitiveness, and in reducing unemployment and poverty.
However, the role of the private sector is comparatively small in Ethiopia. This is despite the huge recognition given by the government to the importance of the sector.
Ethiopia has achieved double digit economic growth for the past decade and plus, expanding the size of its economy in the process and overtaking Kenya as east Africa's top economy, according to IMF.
To achieve this tremendous feat, the government had to unlock the private sector that was shackled under the previous socialist regime. And in the process, the government has been able to revive the sector from its deathbed and to nurture and guide it to its current commendable state.
Nevertheless, the role of the private sector in the country’s tremendous economic growth has been modest at best. Driven by strong public investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, the private sector has been in its supporting role to strengthen the economic growth.
However, there is a great recognition by the government on the merit of making the private sector to have the protagonist role in its vision of taking Ethiopia to middle income status by 2025.
While the issue of the private sector development was on the back burner during the implementation of the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) as the government was fully mobilizing its effort towards enhancing infrastructure development, the sector's development is given even more attention in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II).
Acknowledged as an essential component in key sector areas highlighted in GTP II, the private sector has the opportunity to get involved in the agriculture, industry, service, and trade sector more intensively.
To this end, a number of incentive and support packages including income tax exemption, duty free import of capital goods, and development of industrial parks are designed to encourage the private sector to enhance its role in attaining rapid growth and sustainable development in the country.
Moreover, the government has established a favorable legal framework to promote and facilitate Public-private partnership (PPP), as Ethiopia recently introduced a new PPP law aiming at involving the private sector in infrastructural development.
Considering that PPP provides the tool that can harness the private sector’s contribution to an inclusive growth, much is expected of it to drive-up the involvement of the private sector and to make it an essential partner to the public sector in the ongoing effort to realize the country's development objectives.
Even if all this is done to elevate the participation of the private sector in the economy, much still remains to be done in terms of actualizing a thriving and an even more involved private sector.
Many point out the need for providing a series of fiscal incentive to encourage and motivate the private sector to build and operate in the country’s industrial development whilst setting up an enabling regulatory framework and a strong institution.
In addition to the strategies and policies the government has so far employed, there are demands to identify additional mechanisms to better harness the private sector’s potential to foster the economic transformation and industrialization aspirations of the country. This requires an establishment of a more conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem. It also needs a change of mindset both in the public and private sector.
It is now a little more than a month since Dr. Abiy Ahmed came into office. Inevitably, the public and various media outlets are heard discussing his every move and performance so far.
The majority of the discussion agenda revolved around his visits to neighboring countries, namely Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya. Lots of logical and illogical stances in this regard are seen thrown here and there.
Meles Alem, Spokesperson to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in his weekly media briefing, called the Prime Minister's visit a diplomatic success thus far.
Among the few points he mentioned in his press conference was on fact that the leaders of various countries have expressed their happiness with the peaceful power transition, and how they invited the PM to visit their respective nations.
Moreover, he stated that they all have expressed their interest to have a strong and all-rounded relationship with Ethiopia. Many other political leaders, such as Israeli’s Premier, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and senior officials of Saudi Arabia and China have all came and visited Ethiopia and discussed with government officials on ways to solidify the relations between their respective countries and Ethiopia.
“Development is unthinkable for a country in isolation from the rest of the world. So, we have to know the relevance of our neighboring countries and our importance to them,” noted Meles.
The visits Dr. Abiy Ahmed made to the neighboring countries are not only fruitful in strengthening Ethiopia’s relationship with them, but also in heightening their cooperation.
The internal and external affairs of a given country are inseparable like the two sides of a given coin. That is why the foreign policy of the nation is described as the reflection of its internal affairs.
It is uncommon to find countries that are interested to sit round a table and deal with countries that are seeped with socio-economic and political turmoils. Thus, a country should ensure its own internal peace, unity and growth if its voice is to be heard by international organizations and the global community.
That is why countries mostly focus on their internal peace and development issues. Consequently, if they have to win the interests of investors, and gain supporters for their development endeavors, much has to be done in the diplomatic sphere.
However, this is not enough and still much awaits to be done on the areas of external relations, for no country can be 100% complete on its own. So, leaders have to go out and visit other countries and discuss on such communal agendas face to face.
All in all internal policy and foreign relations are highly interrelated. Hence, the visits of the Premier made soon after he came to power show the commitment of the government to strengthen its relationship with the leaders of neighboring countries. And it is known that physical contact between peoples has a decisive role in intensifying their all-rounded relationships, and the same is true for that of leaders in solidifying the relationships between their respective countries.
The visit helped Ethiopia to express its deep interest to work with its neighboring countries. This in turn will enable the countries to further step up their cooperation by ensuring mutual trust among one another.
Also, as it can be recalled, Ethiopia has seen social unrest in recent times, which inevitably creates a need for providing answer and assurances to outsiders who are far away from the situation. It was not only Ethiopians who were worried, but also its neighboring countries and partners as well.
They had been worried about the direction Ethiopia was heading for. They had been questioning the possible consequences of the chaos both for the horn and the globe. “But, now, not only the situation is already changed but the aspiration, hope and the spirit of unity in Ethiopia has also made our neighboring countries and other partners happy. This confirms the belief that Ethiopians solve their problems on their own”, Melese declared during his briefing.
This clearly showed that Ethiopians do not need any external third party’s intervention and influence in their internal affairs even if it sometimes seems important.
The other very important aspect of the visit was to show Ethiopia’s keenness and higher commitment to ensure the region’s peace and economic integration. And the influence Ethiopia has in the region cannot be understated. The region is not only the place where Ethiopia is situated, but the countries within the sub-continent are also its market routes, so ‘their peace is ours and their problems are ours too.’
Ethiopia has already gotten out of instabilities, and have started working to stabilize the region. It is also taking the lead in linking up the region through infrastructure. And it was all that has been shown and reflected during the visits made last month.
Ethiopians could develop a common sense on the new hope created after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed held discussions with the society in various parts of the country on creating national consensus. The stability seen in Ethiopia internally has in turn created conducive environment to its foreign relations and diplomacy.
BY SHUSHAY ADANE
Rising from an almost non-existent state, the private sector in Ethiopia has become major player that supplements the rapid economic progress of the country, and its transformation to middle-income economy. But how can the government keep the momentum and enhance the private sector’s contribution to the overall economy?
Private companies had a long history in Ethiopia prior to the 1974 revolution, when the Marxist government nationalized all major businesses and send a death blow to the flourishing industry. Assuming power in 1991, the current administration shifted the country from command economy to market-oriented one to revitalize the sector.
Dr. Teshome Adugna, Assistant Professor of Development Economics, told The Ethiopian Herald that the viable decision the government made to shift the economic system has brought about commendable results in bolstering the role and contribution of the private sector.
He notes that the commitment of the government to reinstate the economic participation of the private sector is paying off in creating companies that have been playing a pivotal role in job creation and foreign currency earnings.
“Thanks to Ethiopia’s favorable investment climate and massive infrastructure and human development, we can now see growing number of privately-owned banks, health institutions, hotels and retail shops; while more businesses and investment projects are in the pipeline,” Dr. Teshome adds.
He points out that the government has made strategic moves in the shape of attractive incentive packages, including tax exemptions and custom free importation of capital goods, which drew local investors to engage in joint ventures.
Moreover, Dr. Teshome argues that the government's engagement in regulatory activities will bring tangible achievements, adding that its withdrawal from small-scale businesses contributes a lot in bolstering the role and participation of the private sector.
Sharing the above sentiment, the former President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, Kibur Gena, says that the various polices, strategies and regulations issued after the demise of the military government have been instrumental in enabling private investors to engage in large-scale businesses and investment projects.
Kibur states that the dedication of the government to create a strong private sector is manifested through the privatization of numerous publicly-owned firms, and creation of inviting business climate.
According to him, the preferential treatment and protection rendered for the private sector paved the way to making a meaningful involvement in the manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, agro-processing and other priority sectors.
“The ongoing infrastructural development, including road, electricity, railway and airport, coupled with selective intervention supports the private sector to access foreign markets and enhance international competitiveness,” he notes.
Another economist, Mushe Semu, also says the government’s intervention has proved successful in enabling the private sector to accumulate substantial wealth to address socio-economic challenges, and solve problems associated with the ill-conceived socialist practices
Commending the government’s huge involvement in creating strong private sector with better financial status, Mushe, however, states that the current administration needs to tackle corruption, maladministration, bureaucratic and infrastructural setbacks if it is to maintain and enhance the role of the private sector.
He says: “Effective implementation of investment policies, rules and regulations as well as addressing shortcomings in the provision of foreign currency, loan, land and other utilities are crucial for the expansion of businesses.”
Similarly, Kibur stresses the need for addressing infrastructural and market related problems, and the inefficiency of the tax system. Modernizing the tax system is essential in controlling fraud and corruption, and in ensuring the benefits of the private sector.
As it poses a threat in the development of the private sector and the national economy at large, the government should give utmost priority to fight corruption and bad governance, he recommends.
Dr. Teshome for his part says that the government ought to ensure attractive business environment through comprehensive provision of utilities and macroeconomic stability.
The Assistant Professor points out that due attention should be given to bolster the involvement of local investors in industrial parks; which is expected to solve issues related to utilities and infrastructures, and encourage them to get involved in the manufacturing industry and help bring structural change.
Furthermore, according to Mushe, enhancing access to loan, foreign currency, technology, knowledge, and quality service to the private sector is instrumental in bolstering the sector’s role and its contribution to the economy.
The economist says that ensuring full-packaged provision of utilities and attractive incentives for export-oriented companies is also essential in building their capacity, and in paving the way for them to be engaged in export diversification in the process.
All in all, the experts highlight that the government needs to keep macroeconomic stability, control the unjustified soaring of inflation and address the gaps in order to sustain the growing role and contribution of the private sector. Setting up a more enabling regulatory framework and strong institutions will also be instrumental to the well-functioning of market-oriented economy, and to translating the motto of making the private sector an engine of economic growth a reality.
BY BILAL DERSO
ADDIS ABABA- Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) has called on Muslims to observe the fasting month of Ramadan by supporting the needy, and tending to displaced citizens.
In a message he delivered in connection with the 1439th Ramadan, the Council's President Sheikh Muhammad-Amin Jamal has urged the faithful to show kindness and genuine love during the fasting period.
Reminding Muslims the month’s special place in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad- Amin called on the faithful to join efforts in rehabilitating displaced citizens, and maintaining their support.
He said: “It is the time to shun materialism, exercise patience, control our emotion, and reflect on our compassion and empathy.”
Remembering victims of the past unrest and supporting them is essential, he indicated.
Alongside this, the President advised every Muslim to contribute their share in backing the country’s ongoing economic development, and to fight against poverty, radicalism and narrow nationalism.
The Muslim community needs to take part in the vision of building a peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia by fostering solidarity with their non-Muslim brothers and sisters, Sheikh Muhammad-Amin stressed.
Muslims across the globe will obsereve the 1439th Ramadan beginning from tomorrow.
BY BILAL DERSO
ADDIS ABABA- Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Chairman of the National People’s Congress of China (NPC), Li Zhanshu last week witnessed the signing of inter-government framework agreement of Mekelle Water Supply Development Project between the respective countries. The signing of this agreement has played an important role in promoting the construction of the project.
Mekelle is a fast-paced city with rapid growth of economy and population. The existing water supply system and sanitation facilities are, however, restricting the development of the city due to their shortcomings.
The overall goal of the project, which is undertaken by China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), is to improve the production and living standards for residents and to provide adequate, reliable and clean water.
The project’s capacity of water supply is designed for 130,000 meter cubic water per day, and it will solve the water accessing problems of 650,000 urban residents by 2025. In addition, the project will also stimulate regional industrial growth, attract investment demand, and create thousands of jobs.
CGGC mobilized into Ethiopian market in 2002, and it's total value of projects (including completed, under construction and to be built) is around three billion USD.
Among them, Tekeze hydro-power project, also known as the “Three Gorges project” in East Africa, has a certain influence in Africa.
The others such as Finchaa-Amati-Neshe hydro-power station, and Genale Dawa III hydro-power station etc, will be identified to be the one that bring the endless clean energy for Ethiopia.
By providing high quality construction works and long-term investment, CGGC is committed to improve infrastructure conditions in Ethiopia, and to build further good relations between Ethiopia and China.
ADDIS ABABA- Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock disclosed that it has been working to enhance the mechanization of the agriculture sector in a bid to increase national food production and ensure food security.
Senior Mechanization Expert with the Ministry Tamrat Yohannes told The Ethiopian Herald that the consolidated efforts are underway to augment the use of technologies to transform the agriculture sector and create a suitable environment for sustainable economic growth.
As to him, mechanization is very important as it boosts agricultural productivity, reduces product wastages, enhances productivity and quality yields, and in general enables farmers to get an adequate number of products in small farmlands in a short period of time with a little cost and labor.
Tamerat said: “Taking in to consideration the above fact, Ethiopia has been implemented agricultural mechanization strategy since 2014 and the government set different structures for the effective implementation of the strategy.”
Moreover, given that it is impossible to achieve mechanization without new technologies, there are now agricultural financial institutions like farmers’ cooperative union and associations, which provides credit for agricultural input to farmers. Also, nowadays, farmers training center are popping up throughout the country to increase the awareness of farmers on the utilization of new agricultural technologies, the expert stressed.
He further indicated that by using modern technologies farmers are enhancing their productivity and exporting different agricultural products. Case in point, he mentioned farmers in Arsi and Bale zone of Oromia State, who increased their productivity and can be considered as model farmers. “Behind the success of these two zonal farmers, there is a proper utilization of mechanization strategy.”
“As a future direction, the Ministry plans to increase the supply of agricultural technologies by allowing custom-free importation of inputs,” Tamrat opined. Furthermore, to solve farmer's shortage of different technological inputs, the Ministry has organized unemployed youths to supply agricultural inputs for farmers with affordable price, he added.
BY TAMERU REGASA
ADDIS ABABA- The House of Peoples Representative (HPR) on its 24th regular session yesterday approved 975 million USD worth loan agreements and nomination bills.
Accordingly, the Parliament ratified the loan agreement of 375 million USD concluded with International Development Association (IDA), which is part of the World Bank, to finance the country's electrification program. As stated at the parliament floor, the program aims at increasing electricity access in Ethiopia, and enhance the institutional capacity for the planning and implementation of the program.
The other loan statement approved by the legislative body involves a 600 million USD agreement with IDA, which will finance urban institutional and infrastructure development program. And according to agreement, this program intends to improve institutional performance of urban local governments to develop and sustain urban infrastructures, services and local economic development.
The House also approved the nomination of the new Ombudsman for Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO), and a Commissioner for Women and children's affairs at the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission(EHRC).
House Speaker Shitaye Minale on the occasion said that following the resignation of the Commissioner and Ombudsman, the House has nominated seven candidates each from MPs based on their status to serve the two-nominating committee. Accordingly, the request to approve membership of the candidates was approved unanimously and was directed to the concerned body for further scrutiny.
Furthermore, the Parliament also approved the agreement made between Ethiopia and Russia regarding cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters.
BY FASICA BERHANE